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Was Bristol Palin date-raped?
Sarah Palin's daughter says she was too drunk to remember having sex with Levi Johnston on that fateful night five years ago — raising questions about consent
Bristol Palin, seen here with then-fiance Levi Johnston in 2008, says Johnston took advantage of her drunken state even though he knew she wanted to wait until marriage to have sex.
Bristol Palin, seen here with then-fiance Levi Johnston in 2008, says Johnston took advantage of her drunken state even though he knew she wanted to wait until marriage to have sex.
DAMIR SAGOLJ/Reuters/Corbis
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n her new memoir, Not Afraid of Life, Bristol Palin writes that Levi Johnston, her ex-boyfriend and father of her son Tripp, "stole" her virginity in a wine-cooler-induced haze — even though he knew she wanted to wait until marriage to have sex. Palin says she isn't accusing Johnston of date rape, but, under Alaska law, a man who has sex with a woman who is "incapacitated or unaware" of what's happening is committing second-degree sexual assault. (Johnston has not commented on Palin's version of events.) Does the encounter, as described by Bristol, qualify as date rape? (Watch an NBC discussion about Bristol Palin's revelations.)

It certainly sounds illegal: Bristol might not be directly accusing Levi of a crime, says Jessica Valenti at The Washington Post, but consider her story. She says she got so drunk on wine coolers during their camping trip that she didn't remember having sex, and then later angrily confronted Johnston, saying, "How could you?" If Palin's story is accurate, what "she appears to be describing is a non-consensual — and likely illegal — assault."
"Is Bristol Palin’s new memoir the story of a rape survivor speaking out?"

Calling this rape is an insult to sexual assault victims: This sounds fishy, says Maressa Brown at The Stir, especially coming from a young woman who's "becoming a mini-queen of publicity stunts" in a quest for  fame and cash. If a guy rapes you, you don't wait years before blowing the whistle, and "you don't say 'yes' when he pops the question." It sounds like Bristol got drunk, had sex, and felt ashamed. To suggest she's a victim is "an insult and an injustice to women who have truly suffered through rape."
"Bristol Palin date rape drama is offensive to real rape victims"

At least we're talking about this sensitive issue: Don't dismiss Bristol's version of events as a PR stunt just because she's been on reality TV, says Jesse Ellison at The Daily Beast. "Her story raises a serious issue about the often blurry line between drunken sex and sexual assault — and how our culture responds to both." Plenty of Americans "can relate to regretting a fumbling, alcohol-fueled sexual encounter," but that doesn't make it right... or legal.
"The Bristol date-rape question"

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